Coming down heavily on lawyers who resorted to violence, especially against policemen, at Delhi’s Tis Hazari and Saket court complexes, the Bar Council of India (BCI) Tuesday slammed these “acts of grave misconduct” and directed Bar associations to identify the lawyers since “hooliganism and violence” have “no place in the Bar”.
Underlining “we are tarnishing the image of the Institution by sparing such rowdy elements”, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra and co-chairman Ved Prakash Sharma, in a letter to Bar associations of Delhi, called for an end to “violence in Court premises immediately” and recall of resolutions directing lawyers to abstain from court work.
The BCI chiefs said a resolution passed by the coordination committee Monday, calling for arrest of policemen allegedly involved in the Tis Hazari violence, was meaningless since the Delhi High Court had ordered a judicial enquiry into the incident. “We are to think of this aspect from legal point of view, so that we may not be laughing stock before society,” they said.
The BCI said “our inaction and tolerance encourages” such “rowdy elements” and “ultimately results in contempt proceedings by the High Courts or Supreme Court”.
“The incident of beating policeman on bike by some Saket lawyers, assault of an auto driver, manhandling general public… are most unfortunate and Bar Council of India is not going to tolerate it. These are acts of grave misconduct,” it said.
Editorial | Shaming the law
“The way some lawyers are acting even after such a nice step of Delhi High Court, yesterday’s (November 4) behaviour of a few lawyers has disturbed us… Abstaining from court or resort to violence will not help us; rather by doing this we are losing the sympathy of courts, inquiring judge, CBI, IB and Vigilance. Even general public’s opinion is going adverse to us. Result may be dangerous,” the BCI said.
Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports on the clash between lawyers and policemen at the Tis Hazari court complex, the High Court had said that Justice (retd) S P Garg, a former judge of the court, would hold a judicial inquiry into the matter.
It directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to transfer Special Commissioner Sanjay Singh and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harinder Singh during the pendency of the inquiry and made it clear that no coercive action would be taken against any lawyer.
On Monday, advocates at the Saket court had gone on a rampage, allegedly assaulting a policeman and two litigants.
The BCI also appealed to “big leaders of Bar Associations of Delhi” to recall the resolution passed on Monday, and to resume work. “If peace and harmony is not restored and resolution (to abstain from work) is not recalled, then we will have no option but to withdraw from this episode. We will neither participate in enquiry nor we will be in a position to defend anyone inside or outside Court,” it said.
It also said Bar leaders must ensure that in the course of enquiry, nothing adverse should come which could put any lawyer in trouble. “No lawyer should be put to trial in any criminal case. Our experience is that, in such a situation, the leaders start keeping distance from the advocates in trouble. Leaders are only concerned with their interests and votes. That’s all. No one comes to rescue of a lawyer if a criminal case starts against him,” the BCI said.